So how does one go about creating a seven book novel series? It’s a daunting task! You just read the ‘Birth’ of how this series came about from Hannah’s blog. While there have been many ups and downs in this writing journey, the one thing that has kept me going is a feeling in my gut – a ‘knowing’ - that beyond any doubt, I already know that this book and series will be successful. In fact, in my mind, the entire book series has been written, the movies and theme song released, a jewelry line designed, the Greek economy improved, etc.
My dreams are big… no, my dreams are HUGE.
A good reason for this is that I’ve built a few companies out of nothing and watched them rise to greatness. I’ve done it before and with this book series, I feel like I’m just doing it again but in a different way. Also, I have a strong power of purpose; and having a “mission” makes an incredible difference in my ability to persevere and push through wanting to quit or any hard times that have come my way with this project.
But how did I get to the mindset that led to my power of purpose and building those companies from nothing? It wasn’t easy, nor was it overnight.
In 2007, I became a huge student of mindfulness, meditation and manifesting my dreams through the power of intention. Believe it and you can achieve it. Sounds simple, right? Not exactly, but with practice and patience, it really works. Going back to before my companies were successful, I bought a book by the late Wayne Dyer, “Change your Thoughts, Change your Life: The Wisdom of the Tao” – and it literally changed my life for the better.
The Tao Te Ching is a series of proverbs written over a thousand years ago by Lao Tsu in China, but the wisdom is timeless and seems complementary to my spiritual/religious beliefs, especially the way that Wayne Dyer summarized it in his book. This was the beginning of my mind shift. Then, I went on to read books like “The Secret” and others of a similar vein, and it started to click.
My husband is a wellness freak, anyone who knows him can attest to this, so I’m sure that it also helped that I changed my diet and followed a strict exercise and wellness regimen, integrating Pilates and Yoga into my life. No doubt, you will see many of these wellness influences in the crazy life of Janus Giannopoulos in Protogenesis™. But make no mistake, I am also a firm believer in taking time to laugh and have fun. I still like to splurge and go out every now and again...especially when in Greece. And of course, I have vices...I love espresso and chocolate!
Anyway...two years ago, I reached a major turning point in my life, and was really struggling with my identity and what to do next. I was “mommy” for our seven year old son, which is an important job; but beyond this, I did not know what would come next for me.
To fully understand how I felt at this point in my life, I need to explain more about my role as a mother. My son, Xander, suffered from inner ear/balance issues that impacted his behavior, his ability to focus and his appearance. As a result, I spent almost five years juggling a multitude of different types of doctors and specialists trying to determine the source of the various issues that Xander faced. Many people judged me and my son. I was “that mom”...you know, the one who can’t control her child!?
On top of this, my husband was working crazy hours to build our solar company; and while I also worked hard for our company, most of the care for our son was with me. We invested most of our money into our growing company, so lived modestly in a little box house that was in a valley where the sun rarely shined. We also ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then, in early 2013, our family suffered a horrible loss. I lost a baby boy at seven months. No one can prepare you for that. This set me back for quite a while, but I had to continue on with life because I had to be strong for our company and, more importantly, for Xander.
Finally, two years ago, the hard times seemed to be behind us. Our company was successful enough for me to retire and we received the incredible news that Xander had overcome most of his issues and was ready to graduate from occupational therapy! He could now function much like any other kid. We were ecstatic about this, but as with any major life change, I was entering a new era in my life.
Almost immediately, I felt the pull back to writing, but I had been away from it for so long that it seemed daunting and scary for me. While I was relieved to have a happy child and to not worry so much about money, I really struggled with what to do next...
Then, one day, I saw an ad for a new 21 Day Meditation program that Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra were offering for a free trial. It was called “Manifesting Your True Success”. I have to admit that meditation is hard for me. My creative mind and active imagination are always wandering, so focus is sometimes difficult. I wasn’t super excited about meditation. But I needed to do something, as I still had no idea what I was going to do with my life and I was starting to feel depressed about this.
It took a lot of discipline, but I got through it; and by the end of the 21 days, I really looked forward to it! What did I learn from this? First and foremost, I looked at the world differently by being grateful for everything that life brought me, even events that might at the time seem ‘negative’. In reality, life is about balance. If you look at every ‘negative’ experience as a hidden opportunity to learn or to lead you to some new and undiscovered place and you are thankful for these moments, then it becomes much easier to weather the storm and push through these difficult times.
I also learned to ‘manifest’ by projecting my vision for my thoughts out into the ‘universe’ not by wanting or desiring it, but by so completely believing in it that it feels as if the desired outcome has already happened. The key here is to fully trust that it will all work out, even as the series of actual events will almost always be different than I expected, and to allow my intuition to guide me. What I found through trial and error was that as long as I feel a strong power of purpose and truly love my mission, then most things within the path of that mission seem to fall together in an almost magical and unexpected way.
I believe that my ability to clearly envision what I want – and to ‘manifest’ this - is a big part of how the synchronicity came together for me for The Protogena Chronicles™. From the time that I finished this program, I began to have dreams about the new story that would become Protogenesis™, as separate from the story that Hannah and I had originally developed together.
This led to that incredible burst of creative thought where I wrote the entire outline for my new story down in less than a week, while I was visiting my parents out in the Teton Mountains near Jackson Hole. Hannah and I had devised a list of things that I was forbidden to write about so that my story would not resemble the story she wanted to write, so my mind went into creative overdrive, trying to fill the myriad of holes in my story. This was very challenging; but ultimately, my story became much more unique because of these ‘obstacles’.
For example, Hannah’s story was based in the US, so I needed to look elsewhere as to where to set my story. That’s when it dawned on me...I’m writing about Greek mythology, so why not set the story where it all began...In Greece? Some people probably thought this was nuts, as I heard time and time again, “but you’ve only been to Greece for two days, right? What can you possibly know about it?”
Another example was the cat’s eye stone on the cat’s collar. Hannah had a different stone in mind that was set into an ornate necklace. This led to Bastet, a favorite character for many. Originally, Hannah and I were writing about Athena, but now that was forbidden for me, so I decided to focus on the lesser known goddess, Artemis.
What did I learn from this...?
In life, sometimes a major obstacle becomes an incredible gift. This is why now, when I feel sad or something bad happens to me, I don’t look at it as an obstacle, but rather, try to envision what wonderful gift this will lead me to next. Just like in Protogenesis™, life for me has become like a mystery filled with clues that I eagerly want to follow to see where it leads next...
Often, we discover new insights in the most unexpected places. And this leads us full circle to a key theme of the book series:
“Nothing is as it seems…or is it?”